We asked ou r Facebook fans to give us some insurance questions they’d like answered, and we received a great response! Here is question #1 – “Am I better off not taking a claim on a small accident with my vehicle?”

Answer by Troy Heald, CIC, AINS, Northern Aroostook District Manager:

This is a very common question that comes into our offices a lot. The answer is – it depends. There are several factors to look at which include the following:

  • Have I had any claims recently (within the last 3-5 years?)
  • Do I anticipate an increased exposure with claims (i.e. new drivers, etc?)
  • How much money, after my deductible, will I be receiving?
  • Did the accident involve another vehicle/person?

The first one is simple, if I have had 1 or 2 other claims and I can afford this claim on my own, it may make sense to pay for it out of my own pocket. Too many claims in a company’s review period (3-5 years) can result in increased rates and/or even non-renewal of coverage.

If I have increased exposure, such as new drivers, it might make sense to pay for the claim myself.

New drivers come under higher scrutiny when companies do their review of policies. If I have a little fender bender that I can afford to repair, it might be wise to consider paying for it myself. New drivers have a higher chance of getting involved in an accident. If I can avoid multiple accidents in the specific time period mentioned above, it will benefit me in the long run.

Does the accident only involve my vehicle and no injuries?

If I have an accident with $600 worth of damage and a $500 deductible, I would only be getting $100 from the insurance company, therefore, it may make sense not to involve them. There is no magic number on the amount, with this as each person is unique and has a different comfort level. Is getting $200 back from insurance enough to submit a claim, or is $1,000 enough?

If the accident involved another vehicle or person, it would be wise to advise the carrier of the loss and submit a claim.

In today’s society, you never know when or if someone will claim loss or injury. If there is any potential for someone else to come after me to pay for their damage or medical expense I am going to submit the claim, regardless of how much damage I have (or even if I don’t have any damage.) If I don’t notify the carrier timely (the sooner the better) it could deny them the opportunity to properly investigate the loss and may even jeopardize coverage.

So, there is no black and white answer to this one. It ultimately comes down to circumstances at that time and how much can I afford to pay. It is a question that requires some thought and expert advice from experienced staff like ours to come to a correct solution that works for everyone involved.